Grandpa Owned: 38K Mile 1993 Toyota Tacoma SR5

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

If you’ve ever shopped used Toyota Tacomas, you clearly know by now their pricing knows no rational boundaries. Used examples with six digits on the odometer still routinely clear $10K, which is why you see clean, low-mileage examples like this 1993 Tacoma SR5 with just 38,000 original miles here on eBay with furious bidding activity. The Tacoma is located in the quiet town of Boring, Oregon, with just over two days left in the auction. 

Clean doesn’t even really begin to describe the Tacoma, which was clearly used for anything but work. The seller claims it has one senior owner who put some easy miles on this SR5, and purchased a Gem Top bed cover to keep the rear storage quarters in mint condition. The often-rusted chrome bumper presents as new and the mudflaps still show its iconic “4WD” lettering in bright white colors. Bodywork appears straight and unmarked and the original factory decals look great.

The interior similarly presents well, with untouched gray cloth seats and carpets, and a desirable five-speed manual transmission. The seller claims it has zero mechanical issues and never found itself wandering off-road or a rock climbing trail; hell, he says it’s never seen inclement weather, either. Makes you wonder what the truck was even purchased for, but given how pleasant these Tacomas can be as daily drivers, it wouldn’t surprise us if this was a commuter vehicle.

Power is supplied via the highly reliable 3.0 SOHC V6 engine, and controlled via an independent suspension with steel skid plates under the front suspension, transfer case and fuel tank. This truck will last any owner well over 300K miles without breaking a sweat, which is the major driver behind the high prices these Tacos enjoy. As a true survivor with the right options and low mileage, we doubt this one will sell much below $20K.

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  1. dirtyharry

    Wow, I never thought much of these “little trucks” until this series, with the extended cab. Finally, enough room for 6 foot plus guys, a powerful V-6 engine, modern interior. This has everything going for it, decent comfort, style, bulletproof mechanicals. I can’t imagine this will require much to keep on the road for the next 20 years. Great find, but it isn’t really a barn find, is it?

  2. Miguel

    Why are you calling this a Tacoma?

  3. Miguel

    “Has A Clean 2’Owner CarFax & AutoCheck Report✓
    But It’s a 1’Owner Truck.”

    What could this mean?

    Also no air with all that other equipment?

    • Brakeservo

      CarFax screws stuff up sometimes . . . but re: sellers claim – how can an Oregon truck have never seen inclement weather?? A good year has rain only 8 or 9 months!

  4. leiniedude

    Not really sure how to comment on this Barn Find.

    • Andre

      I wouldn’t stress it. Cool find for any gearhead.. if you don’t like it, keep scrolling?

      • DrinkinGasoline

        As a Gearhead, I guess I’ll keep scrolling then. Frame issues and serious body rot in the North ate these up real quick. Thanks for the advice 🙂

    • Howard A Member

      Hi leiniedude, this is pretty unusual for us to see. These were very popular in Wisconsin ( and other winter states) bullet proof mechanicals, go anywhere, a favorite for construction workers, that usually had to go off road to get to the jobsite. Several of my friends had these. Again, same old thing, 5 years, rust began, and by 8 years, it was shot, 10 if you’re lucky. I’m not going thru 85 pictures, I’m a busy man,,,but it sure looks legit. I read, a “brand new” 1990 4×4 standard cab sold for $16g’s at auction, and considering what’s out there today, this is probably worth it.

      • leiniedude

        I agree Howard, but growing up in Janesville, with the Chevy plant there, to see any Import back then was rare.

  5. Benjamin

    Wow, just wow. I have never seen one this clean. All around here are used, abused, and put away wet. Many good years left in this truck. I would just be afraid to use it as it was meant to be used.

  6. Barzini

    What amazes me the most about the used Tacoma market (early 2005-10) is how the frame recalls had no adverse effect on demand and pricing.

  7. Clint

    Check the frame…many of these broke in half from frame rot. Toyota bought quite a few of these older trucks & replaced the frame on many more.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Clint, pretty common in the midwest.

    • Chuck Norris

      That was the Tacoma. This is a Toyota pickup. Totally different truck. No frame recall.

  8. Dan Anderson

    Head gasket issues on the 6 make the 22re the engine of choice on these trucks.

    • Rodent

      Agreed. Have several friends who bought these trucks new. Toyota stepped up and replaced the head gaskets up to 100k miles IIRC, but the lower ends were junk by then. Much like the GM 60 degree V6s with coolant mixed with oil. Sure is in awesome condition though.

  9. ROTAG999

    Super Clean truck i own same year 2WD Model is known as a DLX this is simply a SR-5. 95 was 1st year for Tacoma and the better 3.4 V-6 Dan A. Is right about the headgasket problems on the 3.0 V-6

    • Rob

      The head gaskets on these trucks didn’t generally go if it was well maintained. My ’91 3.0 SR5 4wd has never had a failure of any kind. I bought the truck with 75k miles, Toyota did the head gaskets as a precaution without blinking at 160k, it has 298k on it now. A/C still blows cold, power windows and locks work great, cruise, etc is great. I’m about to need rear springs, have done the alternator, power steering pump, and starter, brake pads and one clutch due to a noisy throwout. Best. Truck. Ever. If I had the money, I’d pay whatever they wanted for this thing.
      As far as the 22RE: most overrated engine of all time. Guaranteed head gaskets and timing chains at 120k miles, grossly underpowered. I sold my last one when they raised the speed limit to 75 because I couldn’t go that fast. Then, I bought the ’91. 20 years later, and it’s still with me 🙂

      • Mike H

        I have to agree with you, Rob. I’ve had great luck with the V-6 powered trucks, and the 22R and its variants weren’t as great as they were always hyped up to be. The 22R was a very decent motor in the Celica and ideal for the size, weight, and gearing on tap, but for the pickups the only really decent 4 cylinder was the DOHC 2.7L 3RZ-FE; I’ve had two Tacoma’s (1995-1/2 and 1997) with that one and both of them managed more than 300k miles without being opened up, whereas the at shop I formerly worked we’d be swapping out used 22R’s a few times per year.

  10. jefray

    I got mine from a grandpa too. Mine is a ’94 identical except for color. Mine had 98k at purchase. It is as new, and anvil tough.

  11. Justo

    Great looking truck. I had a ’92 SR5 with the V6 and still got a great price when I sold it with almost 150K on it.

    The only thing that is unusual with this one is the steel wheels – the SR5 package came with 15″ alloys.

  12. angliagt

    Those pictures were taken in Portland.
    Looks like it was from the same dealer that had the
    Cherokee Chief for sale (same photo location).

    • Fred W.

      I was wondering why I recognized an obscure town like “Boring, Oregon”. A friend had an identical truck, color, no air and all. He lived near the Gulf of Mexico and had no rust issues with his, so I was surprised at the rust comments. I thought Toyota had rustproofed them by that time.

  13. jaymes

    im sure the dealer has less than 4 grand in this

  14. JNorton

    The 3.0 V6 has to be one of the worst engines Toyota has produced. ( that should tweek some folks ). Some people swear by them, I have an 88 4Runner V6 manual, purchased specifically to swap in an 5VZ. I am the third owner and the car had a completely new engine in 98 and the head gaskets redone in 2006. Without the manual tranny, this engine can’t even get out of its own way. IMHO. Nice truck though!!

  15. David J David J

    I’m thinking the lack of A/C, and perhaps, lack of manual locking hubs, might drop the bidding price of this nice truck in a significant manner.

    Out of curiosity, did the 1993’s still have the lower head room specs vs. the 1995’s? I think Toyota dropped the floor boards in ’95 to allow for taller drivers, or for those wearing cowboy hats.

  16. Moosefeather

    I look at these old Toyota’s regularly and it is not uncommon to see them called Tacoma’s. I have an ’04 Tundra that doesn’t say Limited anywhere on it except the registration. The ’05 put Limited badging on them, but has all the same options as far as I know. I’m wondering if this wasn’t the same thing with these. Were they Tacoma’s on paper (or in Japan) before they were badged Tacoma’s in ’04? Anybody see a build sheet on one of these?

    • Mike H

      The Tacoma came out in January 1995 and are sometimes referred to as a “1995-1/2” model, but Toyota simply called them the 1995 Tacoma. There was a 1995 Hilux on offer that year also, and for a very short time both models were sold right next to each other.

  17. JohnD

    ROW these trucks were known as ‘Hilux’. In the US we just called them the Toyota truck, since at the time it was the one and only truck Toyota made for this market. The Tacoma name didn’t come along until the 95 model, and certain of those had frame rust issues. It’s all over the interweb if you’re curious. You could get this truck w/ the 4 cyl 22RE or 6 cyl 3VZE 3.0 litre. My 89 3VZE now belongs to my BIL, who drives it daily. Never a head gasket issue, original clutch, over 200k on the odometer. Take care of these (even the 3VZE) and they go forever.

    • Thomas B

      It’s not the only truck they made that year. They also made the full-size T100.

  18. TradmodelA

    No A/C ????? Not in Florida

  19. JohnD

    Good catch, I forgot about the T100.

  20. JohnD

    I doubt the lack of manual locking hubs will make a bit of difference. And AC is easily added for probably <$2k. There are quite a few people out there that just love these, period. Mine was in good shape, but well used, and I always had strangers offering to buy it.

  21. BMW4RunninTundra Member

    I’ve got a 95 4Runner bought off a “little old man”! Had to take hedgetrimmers to cut it away from the vines that encased all but the d/s. It has the 3.0 that is the “supposed” headgasket engine. If they made it past 60K without dumping the p/s head gasket (not enough clearance to allow for proper cooling) then they were usually good to go. I agree the 3.0 is underpowered. Mine has the auto with the “ECT Power” switch. As long as it’s in the “power” option, it will move surprisingly well!! I will say, 6’4″ is a TIGHT fit!!! I have tweaked mine, dumped the cat, performance exh, put a K&N on, which has improved the power issue, quite a bit. Those improvements have NOT improved the horrid fuel mileage though!!! Never the less, I will probably never part with it!! Love it, warts and all!!!!!!!!!

  22. Hugo

    This is a pick up not a Tacoma, Toyota made Tacoma from 1996.


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